Let's go sample some of the sweeter, shorter hikes at Point Reyes. This day should be enjoyable for almost any level of hiker except those that need a large mileage or elevation gain to be satisfied. It will be about enjoying some of the treasures of this park, not about speed, distance, or height. It will also be a great opportunity for photographers – lots of excellent subjects and leisurely time to capture them. But if you want a long, hard workout, this is not your day.
We'll meet in Point Reyes Station and consolidate into no more than 4 cars. Then we'll drive to 3 different trail heads and walk on 3 different trails.
The hikes/locations we'll be visiting and options:
Point Reyes Lighthouse: (approximately 1 mile round trip plus optional 308 steps each way to the lighthouse itself). After driving to the northwest point of Point Reyes, we'll head up a paved trail about a half a mile. There you'll find the lighthouse visitor center and amazing views. From there it's 308 steps down (and eventually back up) to the actual lighthouse; if you go, you might even get a chance to see the original Fresnel lens that warned sailors away from the point. Gray whales are migrating north now, so you have a good chance to see some of these giants passing by either from the lighthouse or the viewing platform above. A pair of peregrine falcons nests nearby, so you may see the fastest bird on the planet wing overhead. There is a VERY loud horn that sounds every 30 seconds; bring ear plugs if you need them. If you can't handle the steps, it's still worth visiting the viewing platform at the top. We'll plan to spend at least 30 minutes at the lighthouse.
Chimney Rock and Elephant Seal Overlook: (approximately 2 miles out and back to Chimney Rock, .5 miles out and back for the overlook). The other end of the NW point has a lovely hike out and back to an overlook above Chimney Rock. This time of year, there are wildflowers dotting the grass along the trail. There are also some elephant seals on a small beach in Drakes Bay for which there is an overlook. We'll have time to visit both areas. This might be a great place for lunch.
Abbotts Lagoon: (approximately 3 miles round trip; shorter if you stop at the lagoon and don't trek across the sand to the ocean) This is a lesser used trail that is short and sweet. This one is at sea level . We'll walk along a marshy area, past a cow pasture. and by Abbotts lagoon to the ocean and a gorgeous beach stretching into the distance in both directions. There are plenty of birds and some sand dunes to add some further interest. We'll have a short time at the beach before we retrace our steps and return.
This is a very weather dependent hike – if it's predicted to be very windy or raining, this will be postponed. Watch for updates by 10pm the evening before.
If you don't want to go to all three locations and/or participate in the car pool from Pt Reyes Station, please don't sign up for this one. This is a logistically challenging day, so participants will need to help by respecting the plan. I think it is well worth the effort if everyone does their part.
Car pooling is critical. We can do the usual car pools from Petaluma and Santa Rosa, but I will be needing everyone to consolidate further into no more than 4 cars in Pt. Reyes Station. If you don't want to go to all three locations and share in the car pools, please don't sign up for this one.
Car pool etiquette- First and foremost....come prepared to drive.Yes.....I know.....a lot of you are trying to car pool because you don't want to or can't drive for whatever reason. I don't want you to be disappointed, so if you can't drive please be aware that you might not be able to join the hike. There is always that risk if you are counting on others to be your transportation. There may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. You might arrive late, be in the wrong spot or get stopped by a swarm of your paparazzi...come prepared to drive to the trail head if you want to hike! If we have a gang wanting to ride we determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up. We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work! General rule of thumb for riders...$5 one hour or less to trailhead $8 over one hour to trailhead Please insist your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas money...it's the wear and tear on the vehicle. We like to take care of our drivers!Then PLEASE if possible try to use the locations below. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to any of the designated locations.
Car pool locations:
SANTA ROSA: Coddingtown Mall parking lot in front of the Coddingtown library to leave by 8:20
PETALUMA: Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 8:45
These times should allow for a Bovine Bakery stop in Pt Reyes Station!
Everyone meets in Pt Reyes Station: meet in the parking lot on the west side of Highway 1 in downtown. There is a blue “Visitors Center” sign just North of the lot, and a “Surf Shack” and a Highway 1 sign just south. If you get to the right angle turn at the south end of downtown, you've gone too far. We leave the Pt Reyes Station Visitor Center parking lot at 9:30am.
Please read and be aware of the following:
- This will be a leisurely day with time to stop and smell (or photograph) the flowers, look for whales, and dip your toes in the ocean.
- Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments. This is especially important if there are any weather issues. Cancellations due to weather will be posted by 10pm the previous evening. We often do hike in light rain.
- Give yourself time to find the car pool meeting point so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time. The time listed is the time we head out. It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival.
- RSVP etiquette must be followed. Only RSVP when you can commit to attend. Once you have RSVP'd if you have an emergency that means you have to cancel please change your RSVP by 5pm the prior day. This will avoid a "no-show" reflecting on your participation history. Over 3 "no-shows" might mean we have to excuse you from the group. We try very hard to respect each other in this group.
- Wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes that are well broken in.
- Duration: 5-6 hours
- Facilities: at each trail head
- Dogs?: No
- Bring plenty of water. More than one bottle is usually a good idea.
- Bring a lunch. You'll have a choice of great locations to take a break and eat.
- If you have them, bring: a camera, binoculars, a wind breaker, gloves, a hat, and one more layer than you think you'll need.
See you on the trail!